Founders: Charles Radclyffe and Will Llewelyn
Our mission is to answer any ESG question on any company for any stakeholder. We aim to simplify ESG reporting to enhance transparency and end greenwashing. The EthicsGrade platform offers a user-friendly solution for those responsible for ESG disclosure, by simply copying and pasting survey questions into our platform, users receive predicted answers based on publicly available data and reports they have uploaded. These predicted answers come with confidence ratings and the evidence used to create the answer. Answers can be reviewed before being copied back into the ESG request, saving hours previously spent on manual searching. We believe that ESG professionals’ time is better invested in improving ESG, not consumed by reporting on changes that have already been made.
Our journey to our current position was not a linear one. In 2019, EthicsGrade was founded by Charles Radclyffe, former head of AI at Fidelity. Recognising the lack of high-quality data on corporate digital responsibility (CDR), Radclyffe set out to develop a solution that would enable investors to comprehend the ethical risks associated with emerging technologies. He was concerned about “watermelons” – companies appearing green on the outside but lacking genuine sustainability practices.
During the initial years at EthicsGrade, our focus was on CDR, data and AI. We established publicly available ratings for companies, before inviting them to our survey platform, InsideView, to provide supplementary private data on their ESG practices. EthicsGrade provided the world’s first dataset on digital ethics we further recognised the lack of nuance in ESG standards and made sure that our dataset could be tailored to the ethical priorities of any fund.
In 2022 EthicsGrade joined ABN AMRO + Techstars Future of Finance Accelerator, having previously graduated from Nasdaq’s ESG-focussed accelerator programme and LHoFT Kickstarter Catapult in 2021. After struggling to gain traction in obtaining non-public data to scale our dataset across wider ESG issues it became clear that if our goal was to uncover “watermelons” and drive significant ESG improvements, we had to address the fundamental issue of answering all information disclosure requests.
We realised we already had the technology to help because our prediction engine streamlines our own ESG survey by presenting only the 60 most relevant questions out of 300 and implementing pre-filled answers, enabling companies to focus on reviewing and confirming answers to material questions rather than providing generalised information.
After recognising the success in our survey, we now leverage the technology to offer a consumer-facing platform capable of answering any question about any company for any stakeholder. Our platform, MagicAnswer, is now poised to address the challenge we first set out to solve in 2019, albeit in a different way than we expected.
By tackling the information-sharing and transparency issues in ESG reporting, we provide stakeholders with a more holistic understanding of ESG. Our platform aims to support ESG professionals by offering the tools and resources they need to navigate the complex landscape of sustainability reporting. With MagicAnswer, we are paving the way toward a more transparent and sustainable investment ecosystem.